Say no.While the cell membrane (see Monday’s post) defines the boundaries of an individual cell, it also serves as a gatekeeper that only allows certain molecules in. Boundaries in our personal lives serve a similar purpose.

We can all probably remember the advertising campaign to just say no to drugs. It’s always a good idea to say no to progressively destructive or addictive substances or behaviors like drugs, alcohol, pornography, erotic novels, soap operas, super-sized double bacon cheeseburgers, expensive gourmet coffee, and so on. Say no and develop a healthy habit instead.

There is a time to say no and not take on something that doesn’t belong to you. For example, don’t rescue your children from facing their own consequences. Don’t assume the workload of a procrastinating co-worker. Establish firm boundaries and be clear about the consequences. Empathize with how they may feel, then follow through with consistency. You’ll both be better for it.

There is also a time to refuse to respond to the anger, guilt messages, or manipulations of others. If you go along with others because you are afraid of their rejection or anger or disappointment, you are letting them define who you are. Prevent yourself from being controlled by others. If you can’t say yes because you really want to, then say no … even if it’s for a good cause including a church committee.

Saying no protects your time, talents, energy, health, resources, and emotions and saves them for what you should be doing. Healthy boundaries give you the freedom to respond when you choose to and not when feeling forced to.

(For more wisdom and practical application, see Boundaries: When To Say Yes When To Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.)

What about you? Do you have a hard time saying no? Why or why not? When is saying no a good thing?

Tools For the Journey – When To Say No
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